5 of the Biggest Spiders in South Carolina

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: May 25, 2023
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South Carolina is a great place to visit if you enjoy swimming, boating, golf, and history. Whether you’re traveling through downtown Charleston or spending the night at a resort, the chances are good that you’ll run into some spiders. Today, we’re going to look at 5 of the biggest spiders in South Carolina. That way, you’ll be armed with the knowledge of what they look like and whether you need to worry about them!

What Are the Biggest Spiders in South Carolina?

Although it may seem contrary to your instincts, the largest spiders in South Carolina are usually not the most dangerous ones. We’re going to explore the biggest spiders, show you how big they get, including their leg span, and tell you what danger they pose to humans. Then, we’ll tell you all about the most dangerous spiders in South Carolina. Let’s get to it!

5. Southern House Spider

Southern house spider

Some people confuse southern house spiders for the brown recluse.

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©Kala Stuwe/Shutterstock.com

Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Kukulcania hibernalis0.75-2 inchesTheir bite is mildly painful and leaves a bump. Sometimes, the pain can linger.

Southern house spiders are commonly found in human homes and outbuildings where they build webs in cracks and crevices. They are somewhat easy to identify because they are brown with a dark brown stripe extending from their eyes down their cephalothorax and have bulbous, hairy abdomen.

Some people misidentify these spiders as the more dangerous brown recluse. However, they do not have a very harmful bite. Generally, a bite from a southern house spider will cause moderate pain and a small bump at the site.

Usually, the pain goes away quickly, but some cases exist where the spider bite caused pain that lingered for up to two days before going away. It’s best to appreciate this spider from a distance or exterminate it if you’re not sure what type of spider you’re looking at.

4. American Nursery Web Spider

american nursery web spider

Nursery web spiders may try to eat their mates!


Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Pisaurina mira1-3 inchesHas a bite that is mostly harmless to humans, with pain and swelling common.

The American nursery web spider gets its name from the way it cares for its pre-hatched young. When the mother spider senses that the eggs are about to hatch, she builds a nursery out of a freshly spun web and keeps watch over her hatchlings.

These spiders are interesting for another reason. The females attempt to eat the males after they have mated.

Nursery web spiders are not very unique-looking spiders. They tend to be light brown or reddish brown with a dark brown pattern running down the middle of their entire bodies. They may have a smaller, darker patch on their abdomens and a light outline around the larger pattern. Their tibias are banded with alternating rings of light and darker brown colors.

Their bites aren’t that serious, either. They will cause pain and swelling, though. You can most often find these spiders living on vegetation, like tall grass, and inhabiting wooded areas and even large plants near homes.  

3. Joro Spider

Joro Spider Webs

A Joro spider, an invasive species, hangs on a web covered in dew on a fence in Georgia.

©iStock.com/Lindsey Lee

Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Trichonephila clavata2-3 inchesDelivers a painful bite that leaves a bump or blister

Scientists have been warning people in South Carolina about the arrival of the Joro spider, and it has finally come. This Asian spider is an invasive species that is beautiful to look at and frightening because of its behavior and size.

The Joro spider is known for making a balloon out of its web, allowing the wind to carry it far away. Also, they make very large webs to catch prey, often several feet across!

These spiders are brightly colored, and that should be a good reason to leave them alone. They have a black or gray cephalothorax along with an abdomen with patterns of black, blue, red, or yellow along with legs that are banded with dark blue and yellow.

These newcomers build webs near homes, in the woods, and in other high-up places.

2. Carolina Wolf Spider

Largest Wolf Spider - Carolina Wolf Spider

Carolina wolf spiders are the largest members of their family.

©Will E. Davis/Shutterstock.com

Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Hogna carolinensis2-4 inchesThe bite from this spider causes local pain and swelling.

The Carolina wolf spider is the largest member of the wolf spider family in the United States, and it’s capable of measuring upwards of 4 inches long!

These spiders can be light brown, brown, or dark brown in color. However, they usually have light-colored outer edges of the abdomen and cephalothorax along with a light-colored line running down the middle of their cephalothorax, starting behind their eyes. They also have a dark pattern on their abdomens, too. Yet, this can be covered up if they are carrying their young on their backs.

This is not a spider that waits for something to get stuck in its web. The Carolina wolf spider is a hunter, and it ambushes prey from dark recesses in homes or areas with vegetation.

You can find these spiders all over the state. They’re more likely to flee than to bite you. Yet, if they do bite you, then you can count on some pain and swelling. In serious cases, you may feel nausea, headaches, difficulty breathing, and other symptoms that require medical help.

1. Dark Fishing Spider

dark fishing spider

Dark fishing spiders are found on tree trunks.


Scientific NameSizeDanger to Humans
Dolomedes tenebrosus3.5-4.5 inchesCan bite humans and cause pain similar to a bee sting.

The dark fishing spider is the biggest spider in South Carolina, and it’s part of a family of large arachnids that usually scare people based on their large leg span. Don’t worry, though. These spiders will go out of their way to avoid people and will only bite in dire circumstances.

Another interesting thing about these spiders is that they do not live up to their name like other members of Dolomedes. They are usually found living on the trunks of trees, so they may or may not spend a lot of time near water.

Still, they hunt aquatic creatures by skittering across the water and grabbing them or diving to get them. Their bodies are usually a light brown, brown, or gray color with a lot of markings on the abdomen and cephalothorax.

Their legs have alternating light and dark chevrons on the femur and light and dark bands on the tibias and lower leg portions. A bite from one of these spiders can be mildly painful and will leave a bump, but it’s not altogether harmful.

Now that we’ve identified the biggest spiders in South Carolina, it’s time to review the ones you need to worry about. The two most dangerous spiders in this state include the black widow and the brown recluse. Both can deliver painful bites that can do serious damage to a person’s health.

Summary of 5 of the Biggest Spiders in South Carolina

1Dark Fishing Spider3.5-4.5 inches
2Carolina Wolf Spider2-4 inches
3Joro Spider2-3 inches
4American Nursery Web Spider1-3 inches
5Southern House Spider0.75-2 inches

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/David Hansche

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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  2. University of Florida, Available here: https://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/spiders/southern_house_spider.htm
  3. Web MD, Available here: https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-you-need-to-know-about-a-wolf-spider-bite#:~:text=%E2%80%8CWolf%20spiders%20don't%20pose,it%20shouldn't%20last%20long.
  4. University of Wisconsin, Available here: https://uwm.edu/field-station/dark-fishing-spider/